First Fieldwork: The Misadventures of an Anthropologist by Barbara Gallatin Anderson
150 pages, $22.95 list
0-88133-491-X
978-0-88133-491-3
First Fieldwork
The Misadventures of an Anthropologist
Twelve months in a tiny island village facing the wild North Sea. . . . Anderson takes readers there—to the experience of first fieldwork. Written with wit and insight, fifteen chapters (each exploring a key anthropological concept) chronicle daily life in a Danish maritime community. From the arrival of the Anderson family to their eventful departure, students follow the professional and personal challenges of a culture change study. Forces of urbanization are turning the life (but not the soul) of thatched-roof Taarnby from the sea to the nearby city of Copenhagen. From cooking and culture shock to data gathering and childbirth, First Fieldwork animates the lighter side of fieldwork, its follies and foibles, triumphs and disasters. Anyone who has done fieldwork will identify with the humor and the pathos; anyone planning it will profit from the demystification that Anderson brings to this anthropological rite of passage. It is wonderfully human, thoroughly professional.
Reactions
“Anderson is right on target with some universal features of doing ethnography.”
“Humane, funny, sad, and full of wisdom.”
“Most enlightening.”
“Here is the human face of doing fieldwork.”
“Hilarious yet serious.”
“Deceptively enjoyable.”
“A full appreciation of culture and anthropology comes through.”
“Works wonderfully with beginning students.”
“Full of wit and insight.”
“Where was this when I was a student?”
“Anderson’s blend of honesty, realism, and high ideals characterizes good fieldworkers.”
“The most faithful account of fieldwork’s emotional challenges I have ever read.”
“Fantastic!”
“Beautifully written and sensitive description of first fieldwork.”
“Relevant for any student.”
Table of Contents
Prologue
1. Fieldwork: A Rite of Passage
2. Getting Started: First Impressions
3. Participant Observation: Cooking School
4. Demands of Daily Living: The Bathhouse
5. Social Networking: The Queen’s Lace Caper
6. Acquiring Status: A New Villager
7. Identifying Cultural Themes: A Framework for Data Analysis
8. A Key Informant: The Store by the Sea
9. Maintaining Goodwill: The Ballad of Ole
10. Acculturation: The Enduring Cold
11. Mores and Symbols: Taarnby’s Coffee Hours
12. Culture Shock: Trouble Along the Way
13. Celebration and Challenge: The Goose Girl
14. An Ethical Issue: Shooting the Outhouse Man
15. Leaving the Field: Disaster and Deliverance
Epilogue